Child sexual exploitation and abuse online is a growing global crisis, both in terms of scale and the evolving methods used by perpetrators.
WeProtect Global Alliance recently published their latest version of the Global Threat Assessment, a biennial report on the global state of child sexual exploitation and abuse online and how to draw on this evidence to turn the tide on this issue.
This report shows that new forms of abuse, such as financial sexual extortion and AI-generated abuse imagery, underscore the urgent need for the implementation of Safety by Design principles, global alignment of internet regulations, and the application of public health strategies to violence prevention. Additionally, it is crucial to involve children's voices and adopt a child-centred approach to better understand the threat and bridge gaps in the response.
Full report: Click here
What’s the Global Threat Assessment?
Every two years, WeProtect Global Alliance publishes a report assessing the current scale and scope of child sexual exploitation and abuse online, to improve the global response to this threat.
This report aims to encourage evidence-based action, recommend solutions and measures based on the evidence, and highlight opportunities to prevent abuse before it happens.
The voice of lived experience
Our Head of Advocacy Rhiannon-Faye McDonald has been involved throughout as a member of the steering committee, providing input and guidance from a lived experience perspective to ensure that both the report and the writing process kept victims and survivors at the heart of the work.
On the current threats within this landscape, she said: “A child’s right to not be abused must be at the core of everything we do. This includes preventing their revictimization via images of their abuse being viewed and shared. As somebody with lived experience of technology-assisted child sexual abuse, I find it devastating that those who wish to sexually abuse children are being given the tools to do this undetected thanks to the increasing rollout of end-to-end encryption. The UK Online Safety Bill is a step in the right direction but it will only have meaningful impact if everybody follows suit – this is a global issue which knows no borders. Uniting together to protect children has never been more important.”
Urgent calls to action
- Invest in public health approaches, prioritising preventative measures, such as Safety by Design.
- Centre children’s rights and perspectives in designing interventions, providing children with age-appropriate resources on online safety.
- Implement globally aligned legislation to prevent offenders from benefitting from legal loopholes and avoid tech companies making duplicative efforts in reporting, removing and blocking abusive content.